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*Cast Away (PG-13)

Cast Away is not a great film -- it wanders in the end and loses dramatic momentum almost fatally -- but Tom Hanks' is a great performance. When we meet him at the beginning of the film, he is a hyperactive Federal Express efficiency expert -- irritatingly smart, glib and precise. But his comeuppance is surviving a plane crash that kills all the other passengers, and washing up on an island where he is helpless against the elements. Here, Director Robert Zemeckis' skill comes to play, creating a place where the viewer is drawn to feel as if she is actually there, partaking in the action. Hanks is touching, funny, painfully human. We grow to love him because he makes the best of the situation by succumbing to a bit of madness, passing his time talking to a volleyball, washed ashore in a FedEx package. When he is finally rescued and returns to civilization, we don't give a damn about what will happen with his girlfriend at home, nicely played by Helen Hunt, we just want to see how he will adjust his life, given what he has learned. Zemeckis missteps and gives us what we don't want, but we can forgive him because the moments on the island were so entertaining and so remarkably well acted. See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16; Gold Hill Theaters

Charlie's Angels (PG-13)

This Charlie's Angels is no television throwback, but a tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top female martial arts fantasy in which every uttered word is a sexual innuendo -- and a funny one at that. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore are utterly engaging as three gorgeous chicks who just happen to also be secret agents. Don't worry about the plot; it doesn't matter. All that matters is the pace and the ass-kicking which are both non-stop, cleverly filmed and arresting in a very Jackie Chan-ish manner. Diaz, in particular, shows terrific comic flair. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

*Chocolat (PG-13)

This latest endeavor by director Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Cider House Rules) is a charming little movie that follows the story of Vianne (Juliette Binoche), a free-spirited single mother who blows into a small French town in the 1950s. The actors in the film are quite delightful, if cast and costumed in the most stereotypical melodramatic ways. Johnny Depp is delicious as the romantic leading man, Judi Dench is her usual subtle and magnificent self as a crotchety landlady and abandoned grandmother, and Carrie-Anne Moss radiates betrayal and hurt as her widowed daughter. Overall, there's not a lot to dislike about Chocolat. If the movie is a little shallow in its charm, too bad. Like the Hershey's bar, it's an acceptable stand-in until the Godiva's comes along. See full review. -- AL

Tinseltown

*Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (PG-13)

With Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, director Ang Lee resurrects a popular form -- the swordplay kung-fu film of 1960s Hong Kong -- and turns it into something so beautiful that we forget we've been watching a martial arts flick. The story depicts the struggle for the soul of a disciple, filmed in Chinese dialects with English subtitles. In his exacting fashion, Ang Lee has seen to it that the words that cross the screen are perfectly choreographed, the translation matched to the rhythm of speech so that reading it becomes as natural as watching the action on the screen. The astonishing fight scenes have warriors catapulting across rooftops, through the branches of trees, and flying over waterfalls. All of Crouching Tiger is beautifully filmed, and it's one of those movies that offers images that stay with you. Still, it does not pretend to be profound; it's loaded with humor and tongue-in-cheek bows to Hollywood traditions. If I could choose only one film of 2000 as an absolute must-see, I'd go with the resplendent Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. See full review. -- KCE

Kimball's Twin Peak

*Extreme (not rated)

After seeing Extreme in Imax I now know why playing extreme sports must be such a rush. This is not a 3D film, so you won't go home feeling like you were strapped to a surfboard riding 30-foot waves, but the stunts featured are indeed extreme. World class surfers, skiers, snowboarders and climbers fill the giant screen, taking the viewer into the world of daredevil sports and into the minds of the people that perform them. Arial views and extreme close-ups are narrated with voiceovers by the athletes, and backed up by a killer soundtrack from Soulfood featuring everything from world music to hip hop. -- John Lindsay

Cinemark 16 IMAX

Finding Forrester (PG-13)

Newcomer Rob Brown, an inexperienced, 16-year-old non-actor, does a perfectly respectable job in the role of Jamal, a well-read, basketball-playing, aspiring writer. Director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) lingers too long on setting up the characters before the story kicks in, and gives an overwrought weight to endless scenes between Jamal and his writing mentor William Forrester (Sean Connery). The top-heavy casting serves to give Sean Connery the floor as a grand master, massaging his role with flourishes and his signature Scottish charisma. Finding Forrester is predictable as a bow to the Hollywood powers-that-be to prove that Van Sant is still capable of directing mainstream dramatic hay. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

*Meet the Parents (PG-13)

Within the framework of what looks like a typical family comedy lurks a biting satire on the empty material satisfactions of WASP existence in America. Ben Stiller is a Jewish male nurse who immediately unravels when he has to meet the parents of his girlfriend Pam (Teri Polo). Robert DeNiro gives a pitch perfect performance as Daddy Dearest for whom no suitor of his precious Pammy will ever measure up. Uproarious scenes of physical comic chaos meld with an interesting perspective on the untruths we tell to make ourselves look better in this ultimately sweet and very funny film. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Miss Congeniality (PG-13)

Nobody does bumbling and endearing better than Sandra Bullock and here she lets it rip. All of Miss Congeniality centers on her hilarious pratfalls and clumsy attempts to fit into the world of beauty pageants, and the laughs are plenty. Unfortunately, the filmmakers decided to rely almost completely on her excellent physical comedy and practically forgot the need for a script. Not sublime silliness, but dumb comedy. See full review.

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

*O Brother Where Art Thou? (PG-13)

God love the Coen brothers. What kind of mind imagines Homer's Odyssey set in Depression-era rural Mississippi? This funny, slight idea is lovingly and solidly conceived and executed. George Clooney is pitch perfect as Ulysses Everett McGill, a smart-talking, slick-looking con man who breaks away from a penal farm chain gang and drags along the two guys who happen to be hooked up to him on either side -- dour Pete (John Turturro) and hapless Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). Of all the Coen brothers' comedies, O Brother is the lightest with far less of the brutal humor and violent consequences their movies usually contain. Tim Blake Nelson's performance is as sweet and friendly as a good old hound dog. Best musical soundtrack of the year. See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown

Proof of Life (R)

Despite what should have been a compelling plot, the movement in this film is slow, stumbling and repetitive. The fundamental problem is director Taylor Hackford's resolve to focus on the simmering romance between stars Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe instead of the efforts by kidnap and ransom experts (Crowe and David Caruso) to rescue a kidnapped American executive (David Morse). Ryan is miscast as the executive's wife, Alice, a hippie of sorts who dislikes being a corporate wife. Crowe's best moments occur in the company of his macho compadre, fellow K&R expert Dino, played with flavor by David Caruso. But what is worthwhile in Proof of Life -- the fabulous cinematography, and a potentially intriguing and thrilling plot -- is lost in the film's refusal to just tell the story. See full review. -- KCE

Silver Cinemas

Remember the Titans (PG)

Remember the Titans glorifies youth, manhood and the pursuit of football as the best avenues for social justice. The field of justice is, in this case, an Alexandria, Va., high school ordered to desegregate in 1971, where the school board hires a black man, Coach Boone (Denzel Washington) to coach their successful Titans football team. As usual, Washington manages to hit just the right note throughout the film, helping to redeem a fairly cheeseball script and bring out its nobility. See full review. -- AL

Silver Cinemas

*Shadow of the Vampire (R)

See full review.

Tinseltown

Snatch (R)

British writer/director Guy Ritchie's gallows humor and blistering quick pacing create a slick kind of modern slapstick noir that entertains in brief bursts with wicked aggression. Because the story clumps together Russian, English, Jewish, Irish, Black and American gangsters, the movie plays like a roulette wheel of cultural sampling. Ritchie stomps so heavily over his variety of cartoonish stereotypes that there isn't an opportunity to question some misjudged message of political incorrectness. Snatch is a gritty little madcap, second-rate caper movie that makes sardonic use of guns and the juvenile stupidity they can inspire. Ritchie has an ear for spunky dialogue and a knack for casting. Brad Pitt isn't the only actor working some cinematic magic in this nearly good gangster sendup. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Kimball's Twin Peak; Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

Sugar and Spice (PG-13)

See full review.

Cinemark 16; Tinseltown

*Thirteen Days (PG-13)

An exceptionally competent political thriller that takes us back to the dark days of the Cuban missile crisis during the short administration of President John F. Kennedy. Screenwriter David Self chooses to view the story through the eyes of White House special adviser and consummate insider Kenny O'Donnell (Kevin Costner), an old Harvard football buddy of Attorney General Bobby Kennedy (Steven Culp). There's some outstanding character acting here by Culp, by Bruce Greenwood as John Kennedy, Dylan Baker as McNamara and Michael Fairman as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson. Thirteen Days could easily have fallen into the ranks of made-for-TV movies, but rises above that with its tight, intelligent screenplay, great visuals of the air over Cuba and the blockade at sea, and generally superb acting. See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

*Traffic (R)

With Traffic, director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich) delivers his most complex, pertinent, gritty, opinionated and well-acted film yet. Traffic should probably be viewed twice to appreciate the complexity of the plotting, moved forward by four separate stories that eventually intersect, all illustrating the impossibility of winning the War on Drugs. Soderbergh films his outstanding ensemble cast with a handheld camera, upping the immediacy of the action, and colors the segments with different filters, reminding us of where we are and color-coding our emotional response. Among the actors, Benicio Del Toro and Don Cheadle are standouts as is Erika Christensen in her feature film debut as a young drug addict. See full review. -- KCE

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

*T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (not rated)

T-Rex is dull and predictable (and contains way too many close-ups of our lead) but, who cares? We are here to see the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they don't see as much screen time as one would hope -- Jurassic Park this ain't. That aside, when the big guys do appear, the 3D effects will have you jumping in your seat. Some scenes may be a little intense for younger kids, but overall this should be a great family moviegoing experience. -- John Lindsay

Cinemark 16 IMAX

Vertical Limit (PG-13)

While the film promises a sophisticated thrill-ride, Vertical Limit succumbs to the same hackneyed ideas that weighed down other mountain-climbing movies like Cliffhanger and K2. By the time the fifth nitro-fueled explosion occurs, you may well ask yourself if it was the actors or the audience that the writers were mocking when they wrote the script. Vertical Limit was undoubtedly a very difficult film to shoot, and stands as a technical achievement of sorts, but all of the well-observed details in the world can't redeem Vertical Limit for its penchant for explosions. See full review. -- Cole Smithey

Silver Cinemas; Broadmoor

What Women Want (PG-13)

What do women want? According to this film, we want empathy, sympathy, love and a good time in bed, preferably with Mel Gibson. Gibson plays Nick Marshall, a chauvinistic ad exec whose boss (Alan Alda) passes him over for a promotion in favor of Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt). When Nick has an accident with a hairdryer and a bathtub that miraculously makes him able to hear what women think, he uses his newfound power to undermine Darcy in her new position. Some cute comedy from Gibson and an empathy-enducing performance by the hapless Hunt. See full review.AL

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

The Wedding Planner (PG-13)

See full review.

Cinemark 16; Tinseltown


OPENING THIS WEEK

Head Over Heels (PG-13)

When perfect man Freddie Prinze, Jr. falls for an art restorer (Monica Potter) instead of her supermodel friends, she assumes there must be something wrong with him. And there is -- he's a murderer. Romantic comedy directed by Mark Waters.

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

Left Behind: The Movie (PG-13)

The popular Christian book series comes to the big screen, starring Kirk Cameron as Rayford Steele.

Tinseltown

*Rushmore (R)

Director-screenwriter Wes Anderson's second film (his first was Bottle Rocket) is arty, offbeat, meticulously filmed and wildly inventive. It also has a palpable heart. Jason Schwartzman is terrific as Max, an obsessive student at exclusive Rushmore Academy who simultaneously falls in love with Miss Cross, a first grade teacher, and befriends Mr. Blume (Bill Murray), a rich industrialist. When Blume falls for Miss Cross too, the battle for her heart that ensues is as funny and original as, say, Dustin Hoffman's amorous pursuits in The Graduate. Murray gives his best performance in years as Blume, the cigarette-sucking cynic. Rushmore is one of the most enjoyable and original coming-of-age films in many years. -- KCE

Colorado Springs Film Society meeting, Acoustic Coffee Lounge, 5152 Centennial Blvd. Free, RSVP to 389-0039. Thurs. Feb., 6:30 p.m.

Saving Silverman (PG-13)

When Darren Silverman (Jason Biggs) decides to get married, his friends will do anything to convince him that he has chosen the wrong woman, including kidnapping his old flame and bringing her to him.

Tinseltown sneak preview, Sat., Feb. 3, 7 p.m.

Valentine (R)

The unpopular boy who everybody forgot on Valentine's Day is back, and he's in a murderous rage. Horror film starring Jessica Capshaw and Denise Richards.

Tinseltown; Cinemark 16

  • Our reviewers' recommendations for films showing on Colorado Springs area screens.

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